Letter from the President: Investing In Us

May 2013

Without the people who work at FSE, this place is nothing more than bricks, furniture, articles of incorporation, or a large org chart. I am consistently grateful and impressed by the accumulated experience, expertise and character assembled in this relatively small enterprise. If people are indeed our greatest asset and the life blood of FSE, then it is important that we fulfill our vision of "…treating our fellow employees as we would wish to be treated." This responsibility extends from the board room to the janitor's closet. Everyone working here has an important role in our success. We are all useful and significant. If we are to continue to build on our success, all of us must grow, improve and prosper. FSE is enhanced by each of our successes and suffers with every failure.

Let me give some advice on how to assure that our team prospers together. Successful teams are made up of people who not only share a common vision, but who are committed to each other's success. This commitment is lived out through encouragement, affirmation, trust, and deference. These are important principles to the concept of teamwork, whether in our business, our family or our country.

We need to take every opportunity to encourage each other to improve and continue to learn. If training, a license or a certification will enhance an employee's ability to succeed, we need to make it available. We need to foster a hunger for knowledge in every employee, regardless of their position. Any desire for gaining expertise, as it pertains to the work we do, should be encouraged. It will increase the professionalism, efficiency and expertise of our entire operation.

Affirmation of diverse ideas, unique talents, effort and loyalty cultivates a steady resource of solutions to the challenges our clients face. Looking at our challenges from different viewpoints and engaging diverse opinions sharpens our critical problem-solving skills. The best solutions may often come not from the smartest person in the room, but perhaps from the person most closely engaged in the process. Everyone's contributions should be considered from the standpoint that they may be appropriate in the future, even if it they are not used today.

It is important for all of us to know that we have each other's back. We need to be confident that we will support, and not tear down, each other's efforts to succeed. Personal success is beneficial if it accrues to the overall success of FSE without trampling down other's reputations or their value. Failures need to be dealt with discretely and not aired in a public setting. We can be critical of problems or processes without attacking people, and seize the opportunity to turn a failure into a great learning opportunity.

Respect and deference will always strengthen teams. These principles go beyond courtesy and demand that we value one another's contributions and time. We need to consistently evaluate our work decisions in the light of the impact it has on our fellow employees' abilities to effectively perform their duties at a high level of efficiency and quality. We need to prioritize our work so it enhances the performance of others. Our failure to turn in a timecard, an expense account, a report, or our failure to complete a task in a timely manner may prohibit several other employees from doing their work effectively.

The business culture places great emphasis on transactions and contracts. My hope for all of us at FSE is that we can place greater emphasis on relationships that are more akin to a covenant than a contract. Effectively lived out, covenants will transcend contracts and produce meaningful long-term relationships with our clients and with each other.

Thank each and every one of you for all you do to make us better every day. You remain in my highest regard.

Ken Dickerson